Being forced back in the face of a numerically superior force can suck, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. With a little forethought and timing your squad can retain the initiative and be victorious even when an enemy zerg is bearing down upon you.
Why fall back?
As a squad leader it is your responsibility to decide when the current fight is unwinnable. Then you have a number of options:
1. Keep fighting and farming kills to the last possible moment.
2. Redeploy to another area with less opposition and start to operate there.
3. Redeploy to a nearby location and set up a defence against the same enemy.
This guide will focus on option three, with the assumption that the enemy when initially encountered outnumbers your forces by a great degree. The other options can be viable at times but both of them hand the initiative to the current opposition (and you lose, which really does suck).
When chosing option three you do so for a number of reasons:
To keep the initiative
You have been hemmed in to your current position (or worse the spawn room) and can’t break out, the base is falling and the enemy have you suppressed. The enemy currently has the initiative and it is your job to regain it. If doing so at your current location is not an option, then fall back and find somewhere to set up and make the enemy dance to your tune.
To trade space for time and distance.
If you time your withdrawal well you should be able to set up in a defensive position where you can destroy the enemy force multipliers while retaining enough distance to keep you safe from being wiped out by their attack.
To keep morale high.
No-one likes to be farmed, and losing an engagement will harm the morale of your squad-mates. By falling back and setting up defenses you reinforce the belief that you have not lost, and you get an easy morale boost by destroying the leading elements of the enemy zerg which are often disorganised and alone (be aware of organised squads pushing forwards before the base falls though).
To keep the enemy under pressure.
If you were to stay in the spawn room and redeploy when the base falls then you may already be under attack and facing a numerically superior enemy who is encouraged by the easy kills you provide them. While if you were to redeploy to another fight, the enemy can now waltz into the next base with greatly reduced opposition. Setting up defences ensures the enemy doesn’t have it all their own way.
To divert the enemy in a desirable direction.
In some instances you may wish to keep as many elements of an enemy force from reaching another location, this is often to buy time for allies fighting over a base when a large amount of enemy reinforcements could make the difference in their favour. By continuing to fall back you can often draw the enemy with you and keep them in a location you want them to be.
How to fall back properly.
There are two main methods to falling back which I commonly employ:
1. Redeploy to spawn point.
The most common method of redeployment. Use this when you need to get to a base to resupply, defend or obtain vehicles. It is also your main option for redeployment when you have been surrounded and falling back via other means is not possible.
When defending a base and using this option try to redeploy with several minutes to spare. This will allow you to arrive before the enemy and also give you the opportunity to pull an AMS equipped Sunderer to then deploy to your preferred defensive position ready to fight and maybe fall back again.
2. Run to the rally point.
The key to this method of falling back is to have a rally point defined ready for your squad to move to at a moments notice. I find smoke very useful for marking this location.
Again timing is key. You need to give your squad the opportunity to do damage to the enemy, but be able to fall back before the enemy reach you and are able to engage you making the withdrawal difficult. Your Sunderer driver also needs to be on the ball and proficient not only moving quickly, but also deploying well.
Miscellaneous tips and concerns.
- Be prepared for enemy armour, this is what you will be combating as a priority as removing the enemy force multipliers should often be a key objective
- Radar Flashes are very useful to help gauge when the enemy is close enough to call for a withdrawal
- Spawn options may be limited, sunderers are very useful but are likely to be a key target for the enemy (so move them early). Spawn beacons are often not available to deploy at each position so you will be relying on good medics and squad deploy
- Squad discipline pays off here. Having players who run off toward the enemy is not a good idea
- Normal zerg rules apply.
- If in doubt fall back to the next position, you do not have the survivability to take too much damage and one mistake can cost you your squad.
- There may come a critical point when the enemy are exposed and can be destroyed utterly be a quick offensive action. Be ready for this and do not be afraid to attack when the time comes.
- If you have a sunderer available any “randoms” it spawns make great distractions to cover your retreat.
Case Study – Diversion and destruction of enemy zerg.
Roughly 10 outfit members split into two squads. Squads also contained several “random” players.
(Please note I use Empire Specific Colours on my map so red dots = TR Blue = NC.)
Northern Weigh Station after initiating an attack on this base and with the help of an allied zerg securing it from the enemy Alpha squad took position in a building north of A point (squad waypoint) The top floor of this building has only one entrance and is easily defended while it allows a squad to provide fire upon enemies approaching from the NC warpgate and overlooks A point.
Alphas position also goes some way to securing the spawn room exits for friendly forces allowing them to exit more easily and provide a more effective defence.
Bravo squad had the unenviable task of attempting to secure the southern flank and quick response to A point should it flip to the enemy.
I knew that with a small force I could not hope to defeat the NC counterattack (most of the friendly zerg departed after the capture). Therefore I deployed Alpha in as strong a position as I could muster with a focus on defence, while I knew Bravo would have a more tough time as Northern Weigh Station is almost always captured by flanking attacks from the south, however I consoled myself that as long as Alpha held their position Bravo could initially fall back to A point, then to Alphas position holding out till we were forced to redeploy.
Redeployment 1. Fall back to Freyr Northern Barracks and defensive deployment on West Hill.
I called for a redeployment with several minutes left on the capture timer at Northern Weigh Station. At this point Alpha was suppressed into their building and after one last attempt by bravo to re-secure the point we fell back to Freyr Northern Barracks to equip ourselves with anti armour gear, MAX’s, a Sunderer and a radar flash.
We then deployed to a small hill overlooking the approach from Northern Weigh Station and waited for the inevitable attack. A rally point was designated in a large crystal formation to our east should we be pushed back and a Sunderer was deployed there in readiness for us. During this time we were able to deter enemy air from approaching and made life easier for when the ground forces attacked.
It was not long before the enemy pushed forward. A mix of “randoms” and Outfits, and due to the proximity to the warpgate there was a large concentration of enemy armour. Our squad was succesful in holding its ground for some time and was supported by friendly spawns to the south (the closest spawn point to the fight hence everyone spawns there).
As the enemy approached we started to take casualties more rapidly and I made the call to fall back to the next location,this redeployment was made on foot.
It is worth noting the fate of a Sunderer deployed to the south of us. Until our withdrawal we were covering their northern flank, and they were spawning an impressive number of allied infantry. However after we redeployed and the enemy zerg approached the allied forces did not fall back and were quickly overwhelmed.
As shown on the diagram above a large portion of the enemy force were successfully pulled to our position, preventing them from reinforcing NC forces at Freyr Amp Station where a major battle was taking place.
Redeployment 2. West Crystal to East Crystal
After redeploying to the crystal outcrop on foot we turned to engage the enemy once more. The enemy had been drawn with us from our previous location and were following our route along with fresh enemies coming from Northern Weigh Station. I again made sure to designate a new rally point upon arrival.
We again held out for some time destroying many enemy vehicles and infantry units and were able to keep the Sunderer due to a good deployment, intact front line and the enemy attacking from the west and northwest.
Eventually we fell back to the next position. In hindsight I think I may have left it a touch late as we were engaged by the enemies’ leading infantry units and were under fire during the retreat.
The same drill applied at the next position, though as the enemy were closer this time we withdrew much quicker. The Sunderer was still running and provided us with valuable service as a spawn point, occasional fire support and fresh bodied of “randoms” who would distract the enemy with easier kills.
Finally we withdrew to the eastern crystal. This position was not as strong as the others, but was the only patch of cover available to us. By this point I had also decided to make our stand at Aurora Materials Lab and this position was intended as little more than a speed bump. We also lost our Sunderer here to a suicide light assault, though it was now unnecessary as we had a spawn point close to the next base.
Redeployment 3 Defense at Aurora Materials Lab and destruction of enemy column.
We redeployed to Aurora Materials Lab again on foot, though those who had died respawned at the base, and found it already under attack. We quickly attacked the enemy through buildings to the north and west of A point and were succesful in driving the enemy off.
For a short period the fight was conducted in close quarters as we struggled to dispatch the enemy already present who were being reinforced by the quickest members of the enemy zerg column who crucially were now devoid of significant vehicular support.
Noticing this I instructed Alpha squad to deploy to the large semicircular structure west of A point to fire upon enemy units approaching from that direction, while Bravo squad initially acted as a flexible squad to deal with anyone who made it to the base aswell as defend at the discretion of the squad leader. As the enemy zerg arrived in force, it became apparent that we were being succesful in holding them off due to our strong defensive location, the open ground they were forced to cover on foot and friendly reinforcements who were beginning to spawn at the base. The main enemy spawn Sunderer seemed to be hidden behind cover at “X”, so I asked Bravo squad to pull Harrassers and Battle Sunderers to flank and engage the enemy infantry and Sunderers while Alpha continued to suppress and kill the enemy.
This plan was extremely succesful. Being surprised and no longer having armour to support them the enemy Sunderers and Infantry were destroyed by a rather jubilant Bravo squad.